In yet another of a series of important surrogate roles, U.S. Rep. Val Demings is billed for a “Women for Biden” virtual event Friday.
Demings, an Orlando Democrat, will appear as a “special guest,” along with state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Democrat from Miami-Dade.
Hosting the event is Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, a known quantity to Florida Democrats as she has been deployed heavily in the state.
The major interest in Friday’s event, however, is in Demings’ possible future on the ticket.
Many Floridians have pushed for her consideration as a potential Vice President for Biden, a 77-year-old man who has vowed to pick a female running mate, framing his campaign as a bridge to the next generation. That said, the names of more than a dozen women have been floated for that position, and Biden has not tipped his hand.
In the context of being at least in the VP mix, the Orlando Congresswoman has played a number of strategic roles in recent weeks, including serving as the local counter-message to a visit last week from Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican whose job Demings may be positioned to take in November.
Those on the press call got a taste of what Demings might serve up as a candidate.
“The President and the Vice President want you to take your eyes off the real conditions on the ground,” Demings said last week. “Pay no attention to the number of people who have died. Pay no attention to the number of people who are sick. Ignore the fact that this country’s numbers continue to increase, and we have had the worst response in the world, compared to other industrialized countries.”
Demings also laid into Florida’s unemployment crisis.
“Do you ever hear the President or the Vice President talk about the 36 million people out of work, and the fear and the problems that they are seeing every day?” Demings challenged. “On the Vice President’s agenda as he plans his trip to Florida nowhere did I see where he plans to talk about the failed unemployment system right here in Florida.”
Indeed, Pence did not address that topic, unless it was privately with Gov. Ron DeSantis.